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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Swunk

Soundscapes

Review by Gary Hill

This instrumental set weaves an intriguing sonic tapestry. While it's overall fusion based, there are elements of pure progressive rock, space rock and much more. It's an entertaining ride from start to finish. This has some moments that challenge the listener (in a good way) just a bit, but it is certainly more on the melodic fusion side of the equation than in the freeform crazed end. I should mention that this is possibly more jazz than rock, but we generally land fusion under progressive rock, so there it sits.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2018  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Standing of the Shoulders of the Giants
A spoken sound-bite (from a movie, I believe), opens this, speeding up and slowing down as it goes along. The music joins and works through some cool fusion grooves from there. Some other sound-bite bits appear at times in the run of this cut. It has some cool experimental shifts as it works through.
Savmarine
Opening with more of a prog rock edge, this eventually makes its way to some smoking fusion for the bulk of the ride. There is a drop back to some atmospheric space rock type stuff later in the ride. I really love the killer jazz fusion elements what it comes back out. The section of the number has a great vibe and groove.
Preambolo
The opening circulation sound on this makes me think of King Crimson quite a bit. I love the horn work on this killer cut. It has such great melodies. The space rock meets King Crimson vibe mid-track is great, too. When it powers back out of there they manage to keep that KC thing, but bring new intensity and fusion elements into the mix, too. Later in the piece the guitar moves toward funky sounds at points. There is some great energy and melody in the mix as this builds toward the soaring end of the spectrum. 
Solaium
Funk meets King Crimson on the opening guitar bit. The track works outward from there with some killer jamming. There are definitely things that make me think of James Brown in the mix here. Yet there are other things that seem to have a mix of space rock and psychedelia. Mid-track it drops to some seriously trippy stuff. It's an electronic movement. It gives way to a powerhouse prog meets fusion kind of jam that works so well. There is some killer guitar soloing on this. The ending is quite dramatic.
118
This comes in with some powerhouse jamming that is fast paced and so cool. It's part fusion and part progressive rock with a lot of drama in the mix. There is some definite funk at times along this road. Near the mid-point of the track it drops way down to a mellower motif for some cool spacey stuff. There are some decidedly prog rock oriented things that come in as this runs through. It gets into some screaming hot territory as it builds out beyond that. The fusion meets prog concepts really scream.
Ore 22
I dig the funk and cool fusion built into this. The keyboards and some of the other layers of sound bring some prog to the table. I dig the piano break a lot. The cool dramatic prog elements that emerge along that road are so cool. This things gets into some seriously intense fusion jamming later.
Buddha
Space elements open this piece and move it forward. This is trippy stuff at the start that feels like something that could appear on a space rock disc. That makes up the first forty or forty five seconds of the piece. It powers out in style from there. This is a killer jam that has energy and groove in high quantities. This has a lot of intriguing changes. There are some cool melodic passages later in the number. In fact, the closing section is a mellow melodic jam.
Travel
In a lot of ways this is one of the most straight-line numbers here at the start. It has some great melodic fusion jamming at its heart. It works really well. It has some shifts, though, starting near the half-way mark. One of them is to a melodic, mellower movement mid-track. Some cool melodic guitar jamming emerges at the end of that to carry it into the next movement. It drops even mellower around the six-minute mark. It rises up from there to music more like the opening section to bring it full circle. It makes for a particularly satisfying closing.
 
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